NetTest gets down and dirty with measurement

Amidst downsizing and budget constraints, businesses looking to extend services and applications through fibre optic cables still require quality assurance. While test and measurement can be a cumbersome and expensive task, one company says it will do the dirty work.

Utica, N.Y.-based NetTest, a test and measurement solutions manufacturer has recently begun offering onsite fibre characterization services for optical network providers and enterprises.

According to the company, NetTest sends out its own field engineers to perform tests to ensure that deployed fibre is ready for use to allow new services to come online. Using NetTest’s own equipment, the engineers analyze the data and provide onsite recommendations for performance improvement.

“We offer peace of mind,” said Harry Mellott, a spokesperson for NetTest. “We’ll go out and look at [a customer’s] fibre and do an assortment of measurements including customized measurements depending on what the needs are. At the end of the day, we are able to come back with a detailed report on the fibre or the optical network status so the end user can know what they can transmit.”

As part of the service, NetTest offers fibre characterization measurements including attenuation measurement (which measures the reduction of signal strength during transmissions), span loss, optical return loss, visual inspection of terminated cables and dispersion measurements.

Mellott added that outsourcing the test and measurement work makes sense for many businesses who are looking for cost-effective and timely analysis of fibre plants. Although NetTest does not offer solutions to network errors or damages, the company said it will provide onsite recommendations on how to fix problems fast.

The service has already caught the eye of one global provider of enterprise network services. The Strategic Consulting practice of NextiraOne recently sought the expertise of NetTest to assist on a contract for a client migrating to fibre. According to Stephen Allen, principal consultant with Houston-based NextiraOne, the client found that its previous SONET-based network would not support the services and applications the company had planned to run, and decided to make a move toward Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology.

“You have to know certain characteristics about your fibre before you implement DWDM,” Allen explained. “You need to know the fibre loss. You need to know the distance it can support, and also if there are any problems or events that would impede a DWDM implementation. A lot of DWDM equipment vendors require this type of testing before the implementation.”

After what he called a “thorough evaluation” of vendors to test its client’s fibre, NextiraOne opted for NetTest and said it plans to call on the service for future client needs.

“There wasn’t anyone we found, frankly, that had the level of expertise that NetTest does,” he said, adding that the real-time, onsite service is a welcome change to waiting for data analysis.

NetTest confirmed that its engineers will work onsite with Canadian companies. For details, visit the company online at www.nettest.com.